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Lighthouses on Lake Michigan

Updated on November 21, 2014
Holland Michigan
Holland Michigan | Source

State with Most Historic Beacons

I love to photograph lighthouses so in 2008 we took a trip to Lake Michigan. I was amazed to find out that there are more lighthouses along the coast of Michigan than any other state in the US. We were able to visit six lighthouses during our visit and each one was totally different from the one before.

In this lens I will give you an overview of the lighthouses we visited and a look at some of the photos. If you would like to read more about any particular lighthouse a link will be provided to the lenses on the specific lighthouses.

photos by mbgphoto

St. Jospeph

North Pier

The second lighthouse was in St. Joseph, Michigan. It was similar to the one in Michigan City. It was first built in 1832 on the North Pier. It was one of the first two lighthouses built to aid navigations on Lake Michigan

The current lighthouse replicates the original and dominates the city's North Pier. It is still in operation today to aid vessels as they navigate Lake Michigan.

Michigan City Indiana

East Pier/Breakwater Old Michigan City Light

The first lighthouse that we visited was in Michigan City, Indiana. This lighthouse was built in 1835 and sits at the end of a long pier. You can walk out on the pier up to the lighthouse and I enjoyed my walk out along the pier. All the way I took photographs and was able to capture the lighthouse from several vantage points. The lighthouse looks great from a distance but close up has quite a bit of graffeti on it.

The Michigan City Lighthouse was built in 1835. It now serves as a maritime museum open to the public.

South Haven

South Pierhead

We next visited the lighthouse at South Haven. This lighthouse was constructed in 1872 and has been welcoming mariners to South Haven for 135 years. It was a very windy day when we visited and I was able to capture some great photos of the waves splashing half way up the lighthouse.

The current tower was reconstructed of steel in 1903. It stands 35 feet tall and it was electrified in 1923.


Big Red

My favorite lighthouse was the one in Holland, Michigan. It is nicknamed Big Red and is a three story bright red building that is very unique in appearance. Although we could not get right up to Big Red, I was able to photograph it from across the harbor. I got some great shots from the sand dunes and was able to capture the lighthouse framed by colorful fall leaves.

The three-story Holland Harbor light is on Black Lake and was built in 1907. It is covered with red steel to protect it from the heavy pounding it gets during rough weather. The current light tower was added to the top of one gable in 1936. Big Red sits on a pier that runs along the south bank of the channel connecting Lake Macatawa to Lake Michigan.

Grand Haven

South Pierhead Entrance

I really enjoyed seeing the lights at Grand Haven. They consisted of two lights that sat on the pier, an Inner Light and Entrance Light Station. They are connected along the pier and to the shore by a long catwalk on which the public can walk out. At night they are lit up with lights all along the catwalk.

The original lighthouse was built in 1839 at the mouth of the Grand River. In 1905 the current 52-foot inner tower light was consturcted. These may be the most recognizable of all Michigan lights.

Sterling Silver Lighthouse Charm - lighthouse jewelry

This beautiful lighthouse charm is the perfect addition to a lighthouse enthusiasts charm bracelet.

I just added a lighthouse charm to my bracelet and I love that it reminds me of my lighthouse visits.


South Pier Light Station

The last lighthouse we visited was in Muskegon. It was the tallest of the lighthouses and looked very striking with it's dark red color. I was able to get a photograph of it with it's refection in the water.

This lighthouse was consturcted on Lake Michigan's shore in 1851. It was replaced in 1903 when the harbor pier was completed. The 53-foot red conical steel tower is equipped with a fourth order Fresnel lens. The lens has been replaced by a modern 300 millimeter acrylic optic. a 70-foot South Breakwater Square Tower was built in 1930.

Information for this article was gathered from a brochure from the West Michigan tourist association.

Lighthouse Birdfeeder

Bring your lighthouse decor outdoors with this wonderful birdfeeder. I have one hanging in my garden.

Have you ever visited a lighthouse? Do you love reading about lighthouses and looking at photos? Tell us about your interest in lighthouses.

Do you love lighthouses?

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    • profile image

      Beverly Rudat 2 years ago

      Thanks for the info.. I did not know if they were working ones yet as I live in Muskegon and have been up to see the ones North saw beautiful ones and make nice pictures!

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 5 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      I love lighthouse. I've been the St Joesph Lighthouse. I love it there!

    • cleanearth profile image

      cleanearth 5 years ago

      Oh yes :))) My favorite was Grand Haven, but its hard to really choose a favorite lighthouse, thank you for this lens on Lake Michigan lighthouses

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      I love looking at pictures of lighthouses! Thanks for sharing. :-)

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I've seen many lighthouses. I love the one down in St. Augustine, FL best of all. These are beautiful.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I've seen many lighthouses. I love the one down in St. Augustine, FL best of all. These are beautiful.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Such a marvelous article!! Wonderful breathtaking images! Congratulations on being featured on the 50 States monsterboard!

    • DiscoverWithAndy profile image

      DiscoverWithAndy 6 years ago

      Being a Wisconsin native, I can't help but love whenever someone discovers a nice part of the Midwest. Next time, check out Door County, WI. Often nicknamed "Martha's Vineyard of the Midwest", you won't be disappointed :)

      Also, thanks for your comment on my lens!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      The angel bus tour brought me to "travel" lenses today and I wanted to stop back by here and leave my greeting in the form of a blessing :)

    • OldStones LM profile image

      OldStones LM 6 years ago

      Very good lens on Lake Michigan lighthouses. Someday you will have to travel further north as there are some very nice lighthouses on Lake Superior.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Very cool - I really love the red lighthouses too - what gems!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      You photos always make me want to go where you have been. I love them. I saw your comment on my Wizzley. We do have a number of things in common... I am doing the Zazzle neighborhood for our Angel quest. Blessing this lens! I always enjoy you and your lenses. p.s. I am so glad you did not get affected by any of the tornados lately.

    • profile image

      NYThroughTheLens 6 years ago

      Love this! (I have a lighthouse fixation too but there are so few in the immediate NYC area)

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      Very nice lens. I love Michigan lighthouses. Lensrolling to my Iargo Springs lens.

    • profile image

      celeBritys4africA 7 years ago

      I want to visit someday. Till then, a thumbs up to your lovely lens.

    • Yawapi LM profile image

      Yawapi LM 7 years ago

      I love lighthouses, although I live in the Black Hills and we don't have any here. I do love looking at pictures of them though, your work is much appreciated!

    • bjslapidary profile image

      bjslapidary 7 years ago

      Very nice lens. I love lighthouses too, but haven't taken any tours yet. Should put that on my to do list. Thanks for sharing your lens.

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 7 years ago

      Very nice lens. I have seen the Kape May lighthouse. This one is very pretty too. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I love the lighthouses on Lake Michigan it is truly one of the last places on earth where you can still find working lighthouses. Love it.

    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I love light houses. I was just looking at the one in the movie "The Last Song". Which lighthouse was that one?

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      So many beautiful lighthouse items and I love the ornament!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      nice work!

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 7 years ago

      Yes, I enjoy reading about lighthouses. Great lens here.

    • profile image

      QueSea 7 years ago

      My wife and I both love lighthouses. She's the sailor in the family, I'm the landlubber, but we both enjoy our day trips to points along the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior shorelines where you find lighthouses. I enjoyed this lens for several reasons: it brought back memories of our trips in Southwest Michigan, you've got a great product mix here, and I thoroughly enjoy it when people share their passions with me. I gave it thumbs up, added it to my favorites, and liked it on Facebook! What's that Squids say? Woot!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      We once spent the night in a lighthouse. It was called Rose Island light in Rhode Island. It is a beautiful old unrestored light about a mile out from the shore. It was the most romantic thing my husband and I have done in a long time. The sea gulls were everywhere and the little buoy at the tip of the island clanged it's little bell all night long in the wind. Daybreak was gorgeous from the top of the light. My morning shower in the outdoor shower with the bladder of water that had been warmed by the sun was refreshing to say the least. I highly recommend staying in a lighthouse for the thrill of a lifetime.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 7 years ago

      There is something romantic, adventurous and nostalgic in the lighthouses that I like. Thanks for the nice pictures.

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      I enjoyed this lens! I live in Michigan, but haven't actually been to any of the light houses here -- oughta correct that! But I have visited the Split Rock lighthouse in Minnesota on the north shore of Lake Superior. That's a gorgeous place, if you ever have the time to visit!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Beautiful! I think I like the one in South Haven the best. Funny term, 'it was electrified' in 1923. LOL. I've never visited a lighthouse, but have always loved viewing images of them. Thanks :)

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 8 years ago

      Wonderful information and great pics. Well presented and nice topic. Top marks and lensrolled to The Great Outdoors where I will also feature it.


    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 8 years ago from New Zealand

      Well done. I grew up on Chicago on lake michigan. I had no idea there we lighthouses all around until I read this wonderful lens. Blessed by an angel.

    • ILoveLegosToo profile image

      Tom Fattes 8 years ago from Naperville, IL

      We're planning a trip around Lake Michigan next summer. I'm looking forward to visiting some of these places myself.

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 8 years ago

      How lovely ! I didn't know Michigan had so many lighthouses!!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      My dear, do you have a Lighthouse Blog? You have got the best lighthouse lenses I've ever seen!

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 8 years ago

      What a wonderful lens. I am familiar with many of the locations but, I didn't know Michigan had so many lighthouses. 5*s

    • PatriciaJoy profile image

      PatriciaJoy 8 years ago from Michigan

      My husband and I spent our vacation this year visiting lighthouses in the Muskegon area including many of the ones you have listed here. Great lens. It brings back happy memories.

    • KOrazem profile image

      Seeking Pearls 8 years ago from Pueblo West

      This is a great lens Mary Beth. Wish I could of joined you on your visit.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 8 years ago from Western Mass

      lovely lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Beautiful photos Mary Beth!

    • FunGifts4All profile image

      FunGifts4All 8 years ago

      Beautiful photos. I grew up in Michigan and it's a beautiful state. I have seen the Muskegon lighthouse, but none of the others. Great lens!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Great lens, 5*****. I love lighthouses too, and Lake Michigan has so many, it's amazing.

      I lived in South Bend for 12 years, so I am well familiar with the ones in Michigan City, St.Joseph and South Haven. I went to the beach a lot in South Haven and walked out to the lighthouse on the edge of the Black River a few times. It's lovely up there.

      Drop me an email (via contact me) with any links to your Michiana lenses, and I will be pleased to add them to The Michiana Directory (

    • EpicFarms profile image

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      I absolutely love lighthouses and your photographs are fantastic! Wonderful lens and thank you for sharing :o)

    • profile image

      Charlie-Pace 8 years ago

      Great photos you have here. We don't have that much different light houses in my country. At least not that I know of. Thanks for being the first to comment on my Muppet Animal lens.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      5***** beautiful lens!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Lovely photos, lovely lens. Blessed by an angel today

    • Barkely profile image

      Barkely 8 years ago

      I do love lighthouses. I haven't been up to see the ones on Lake Michigan yet, but plan to get there soon. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pics:-)

    • Barkely profile image

      Barkely 8 years ago

      I do love lighthouses. I haven't been up to see the ones on Lake Michigan yet, but plan to get there soon. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pics:-)

    • profile image

      operasinger 9 years ago

      Very unique lens! Lighthouses have a great story.

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 9 years ago from Upstate, NY

      Wow, that Port Washington Lighthouse is such a neat design.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      Most people think they can only see lighthouses along the east and west coast, but as your lens proves, there are plenty more around.

      Wonderful collection of pictures.


    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I LOVE this lens. I live in Muskegon, and I'm thrilled that you have made lenses with our lighthouse in them! Wonderful, wonderful!

    • profile image

      amber19842008 9 years ago

      Very nice lens! I like the lighthouses.

    • profile image

      MarketPipeline 9 years ago

      Nice collection. I recommend hitting up the one on the tip of Old Mission Pinnensula up by Traverse City, the drive is beautiful.

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 9 years ago

      welcome to Squidoo Skidoo, thank you for joining!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Isn't there just something about lighthouses that calls you to them? 35 years ago I purchased a lovely framed photo while living in Fargo of a lighthouse with a 1909 copyright and have always wondered where it's from. We've been up to the UP with our camera and live along Lake Superior. The lighthouses are something that always catch the eye. We have gotten inside a couple, but too many others were there also to really fully enjoy the experience fully--we live in a big tourist area. I'm ready to see more, so will sneak over to see your East Coast Lighthouses.......

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 9 years ago

      these are just beautiful, and the lighthouse jewlery is very pretty

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 9 years ago

      these are just beautiful, and the lighthouse jewlery is very pretty

    • WhitU4ever profile image

      WhitU4ever 9 years ago

      Personally, lighthouses have always been a symbol of salvation and guidance... a symbol of my faith. It is one of the first things I drew as an artist in college. Thanks for sharing your lighthouse adventures. If there is one thing I never pass up, its an opportunity to visit a lighthouse. I love this lens... now I can visit them without actually driving across the U.S.! ;-)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      More beautiful lighthouses and beautiful photography.

    • TopStyleTravel profile image

      TopStyleTravel 9 years ago

      Congrats on the Top 100! I love lighthouses, they are so nostalgic. Thanks for sharing.

    • monarch13 profile image

      monarch13 9 years ago

      I grew up in Michigan, great tribute!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Gorgeous photos! Welcome to Squidoo and especially to All Things Travel.

    • profile image

      rockycha 9 years ago

      Love the lighthouses - excellent lens - High Fivers :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      GREAT pictures! Enjoyed reading your blog.

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 9 years ago

      Nice start! Looking forward to seeing more. :)